Ramna Batamul Carnage: Justice tangled up in High Court
The death references and appeals of the 2001 sensational Ramna Batamul carnage case have been pending with the High Court for nearly five years due to legal tangles.
An HC bench will now have to begin a fresh hearing on the death references and appeals. Another HC bench had earlier dropped the case from its cause-list after hearing arguments for several days.
If a lower court sentences any person to death, its judgment is examined by the HC through hearing arguments for confirmation of the death sentence. The case documents and judgment reaches as death references to the HC from the lower court within seven days after the latter delivers the verdict.
The bench of Justice Md Ruhul Quddus and Justice ASM Abdul Mobin will start hearing on the death references and appeals of the carnage case after hearing previously scheduled cases, Deputy Attorney General Moniruzzaman Rubel told The Daily Star on Friday.
The bench may start the hearing in a few months, he said, adding that the state side is ready for placing arguments on them.
Moniruzzaman also said another case filed under the explosive substances act in connection with the 2001 Ramna Batamul bomb blast is still pending with a Dhaka court.
The HC bench led by Justice M Enayetur Rahim had started hearing the death references and appeals of the Ramna Batamul carnage case on January 8, 2017, and after hearing for several days it adjourned the hearing on February 22.
This bench dropped the matters from its cause-list on August 8, 2017, as the state side did not officially informed it about the execution of Mufti Abdul Hannan, the principal accused of the case, in connection with another case, court sources said.
Later, the chief justice assigned the HC bench led by Justice Md Ruhul Quddus to finish the hearing of the death references and appeals.
A Dhaka court on June 23, 2014 handed down death penalty to eight militants of Harkat-ul-Jihad (Huji), including its chief Mufti Abdul Hannan, for killing 10 people in the attack on a Chhayanaut event during the Pahela Baishakh celebrations at Ramna Batamul on April 14 in 2001.
Six other militants of the banned Islamist outfit were sentenced to life in prison for involvement in the blasts.
Mufti Abdul Hannan, one of the country's most notorious militants, involved in plotting and carrying out all the terror attacks by Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami Bangladesh, was executed on April 13, 2017 at Kashimpur High Security Prison.
Hannan was executed for carrying out a grenade attack on the then British high commissioner Anwar Choudhury in Sylhet on May 21, 2004. Some other accused in that case are absconding.
Defence counsel Advocate SM Shahjahan could not be reached for his comments despite repeated attempts over the phone.